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I'm a mom, so I completely understand the sugar high that kids experience around Halloween. And, to top it off, my son's birthday is October 28th so I get the double whammy. I am constantly thinking of ways I can make Halloween fun AND healthy (without that being a bad word). Of course, I also want to make sure that my kids don't feel like they're missing out. I believe in balance and moderation so there must be a way to do it that can lead to a little less stress for moms, right?
My kids are four and seven, so I’ve had a few years to try out different approaches for a healthy Halloween. I’ve also reached out to other moms to find out what has worked for them, including any tried and true hacks. Teamwork makes the dream work, right?
Here are a few ideas that have done the trick for my family and just might work for you and your family, too.
- There are so many healthy and fun ideas on Pinterest. Go explore, have fun with your kids, and worry less! One of my kids’ favorites is “Boo-nanas”. That’s right – bananas that are decorated like ghosts. Just take the peel off, put two chocolate kisses on the top end and a popsicle stick on the other. Or, you can add lines of caramel, and you’ve got a mummy!
- Aside from food, there are tons of games, decorating fun, and costume ideas that you can try with your kids to get their minds off candy.
Filling Up on the Good Stuff Ahead of Time
- I always make sure that we have a good, hearty, and healthy dinner before heading out to trick or treat. Try a nice soup or stew filled with lots of veggies if the weather is already cooler.
- Whether it’s Halloween or not, I give my kids Juice Plus+ chewables every day. Even if the kids have a little too much sugar, I know they are still getting the nutrition they need between the foods they eat and Juice Plus+.
Have a Plan
- We eat a good dinner, put on our costumes, and go out trick or treating early since our kids are young. Even our dog Rudy gets to join in -- whether he likes it is another matter. Once we get home, we separate the candy into what’s okay to keep and what’s not (meaning no choking hazards for our 4-year-old and only items that are safely pre-packaged and in good shape).
- They choose two items to eat immediately, and their favorite board games to play as we wait for kids to ring the doorbell. This is their absolute favorite part of the night! They love seeing all the different costumes and talking to the other children. Inevitably they eat a few more pieces as we pass them out, but we try to have them focus on giving the candy.
As much as we want our kids to have balanced diets and understand healthy portions, I feel like the true battle lies with us. I used to make the mistake of eating the kids’ stash of candy so that they wouldn’t have sugar overload. You can imagine how well that worked out. I knew that we couldn’t keep eating leftovers for weeks on end, but I had a difficult time throwing away good candy! What’s a girl to do?
It’s Better to Give
- I found a dentist’s office in the area that gives children $1 for every pound of candy they turn in. This can turn into a bigger lesson, such as how to save money!
- We also often donate to our school or other children-oriented places that keep candy on hand for nurse visits, prizes, or even just a stash for the teachers.
- You could even consider donating to local fire stations, police offices, or senior centers. Some communities also do “reverse-trick-or-treating” where the kids dress up in their Halloween costumes on a regular day of the year and hand out candy at local offices like those mentioned above. The kids get a chance to break out their costumes again, and the holiday spirit lasts a little bit longer.
It’s Halloween! Kids (and parents) are absolutely going to indulge, and that’s okay. It’s less important to look at what happens on one day than it is to consider your daily habits over the long haul. Don’t stress. Do what you can to limit the sugar high (for your sanity), but in the end, if you and your children are getting the nutrition you need on a daily basis, you can give yourself a break and have some holiday fun.
What are your healthy Halloween tips? Share in the comments below!